Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The sheltering trees.

I awoke this morning feeling very excited. Two wonderful and dear friends are coming to visit me at the end of the week. Like me, both of them have had difficult times recently; disappointments, painful truths and betrayals, but I know that when we are together again all of those heartbreaks will dissolve into comedy. We will look into each others eyes with the understanding and love that the gift of over a decade of companionship and experience bestows.

In the past I have been accused of compartmentalizing my life; keeping work, pleasure and social circles separate. I knew I did this, I knew it could be painful for those who were close to me, but I couldn't help it. It kept me sane in my world of multiple personalities and identities. It allowed me to be who I wanted to be in any given situation without the eyes of someone who knew me as an 'other' witnessing my fraud. But some eyes do not see a fraud, they see a person growing in all their glory into something more than what they were before. These are the friends that I hold dear to my heart. As Elizabeth Foley once said "The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart." I cherish them as much as I do not mourn for the ones I have had to leave behind.

My Berlin self is different. Here, I am one. And I am so eager to introduce the old to the new. To show them who I am and to allow them the opportunity to touch each others lives as they have all touched mine.

Plus, it's a great excuse for zu viel Wein!!!

(BarGEfEsT 2008)

Monday, 25 January 2010

Descartes got it wrong.

Cogito ergo sum. A procrastinators mantra.

Ideas flow like rain from English skies but without action those little droplets, ripe with possibility, become nothing more than puddles that dampen the spirit and make your feet wet. I've lost count of the amount of things I've wanted to do in my life; the projects and plans that have energised and excited every sinew and nerve ending in my body only to fizzle out with a pathetic hiss after just a few days. Why? Because all to often I mistake thinking for doing.

Thinking is so safe. And so easy. Among the intelligentsia thinking is considered high art; something to aspire to on a daily basis, something to immerse oneself in and fashion ourselves from. Thinking is good.

And it is. Yet, thinking can also be an obstacle to growth and success. An idea blossoms, the roots needed to sustain it are mapped out and then the whole thing is smothered by layer upon layer of cogitation and rumination until nothing remains but a withered stem.

I don't want to think, I want to do. Wish me luck!


Thursday, 21 January 2010

...the most terrible deception...

What is it that drives so many of us towards self-destruction? Whilst most people manage to avoid succumbing to the urge to gleefully swan dive from the nearest high building so few have the capacity to just enjoy life without regularly thrusting an iron bar into the spokes of our own happiness. Without doubt that ubiquitous self-loathing, nestling in the heart of every man has some part to play; when life is good there is a little voice inside that gently taunts "You don't deserve this... it'll end in tears.... best be the one to fuck it up... at least you'll be the one in control..."

But to lay the blame solely on insecurity and the fucked up things that happened to us in our childhoods is too simplistic. There is more at work: Primordial adaptations that were once the keys to our survival but are now just flaccid psychological appendages. The omnipresent fears of being alone, of disappointment, of failure, of being out of control all fester within us. They are natures great motivators but we live in a world so far removed from nature that what was designed to be productive becomes pathological.

Yet there is a way through this battlefield of evolutionary APM's and that is understanding. Understanding why we are behaving the way that we are, understanding without judgement but with clarity and honesty. When we understand, everything is illuminated. We may still fall down, we may still  make mistakes and we will undoubtably lay ourselves bare; like the seed that needs to shed it's protective husk in order to grow into something infinitely more powerful we need to embrace our vulnerability to be able to flourish.

(Tessa by Andreas Holm)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Let me count the ways.

Some kinds of love
Marguerita told Tom
Between thought and expression lies a lifetime
Situations arise because of the weather
and no kinds of love
are better than others

(Lou Reed)

A four letter word with infinite variety. Love is...
...everything and nothing.
...the scent he leaves behind on your bed sheets.
...the first cup of coffee in the morning.
...your own reflection in the mirror.
...the worn, threadbare toy you've had since childhood.
...the story that you wish could be yours.
...young rosenkohl lightly tossed in butter and freshly ground black pepper.
...sharing silence.
...a melody that you could die listening to.
...the butterflies you feel when you think of his hands on your skin.
...the stillness of dawn.
...the friends and strangers who make your life less lonely.
...the things that remind you of what has come before.
...the first snow of a hard winter.
...an image that excites the senses.
...taking a journey together.
...understanding for the first time.
...touching someone's spirit.
...the desire to nurture.
...at first sight.
...a warm bed on a cold night.
...the smell of freshly cut grass.
...good wine.
...sweat on sun-burnished skin.
...3-day stubble.
...knowing that our lives will never be the same again.
...the best that is yet to come.
...our addictions.
...a gift from others.
...chocolate melting on your tongue.
...the face you always want to look at.
...boundless and infinite.

Love is... not blind but adaptive.

(Tessa by James M Graham)

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Slip and slide.

Amor Fati. 

It is a term used by Nietzsche to symbolise the love of ones fate. According to Nietzsche it is the formula for all human greatness and is the attitude of viewing everything that happens in life, good or bad, pleasure and pain, suffering, loss, joy, happiness as good. In Judaism it is the concept of Gam Zeh Letovah (this too is for the best - גם זה לטובה).  It is a difficult path to travel. It requires faith and trust and an acceptance that to some of us feels like a surrendering. I have never felt comfortable waving the white flag; my instincts are always to fight. But fighting usually leads to even more violence and in violence there are no winners. So, I let go. I place my faith in the choices that I have made, whether they are the right decisions or whether they are horrible mistakes. Because they are what I needed to choose at that time and they will take me where I need to be. When we take the first steps, when we act (regardless of the rightness of that act), everything becomes clearer and the second and third step become visible. I see my second and third step. I still have no idea how to reach them but at least I now know where they are.

(My Name is Nobody)